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GSC 2020-21 Virtual Exhibition: Highly (In)Visible

Artwork by Antonio D. Santos

Message from the Curator Heading link

Welcome to Highly (In)Visible!

I’m so excited that you’ve come to visit the 2020-21 Gender and Sexuality Center virtual exhibition “Highly (In)Visible” by Antonio D. Santos. This is the first online exhibition the GSC has curated. Under other circumstances, you would have experienced the beautiful mixed media paintings in the GSC Flex Space, the physical gallery that showcases art throughout the academic year and is used as a learning engagement tool. This year, you get to experience art online at anytime and wherever you are. Soak in each painting at your own pace and come back multiple times to encounter new discoveries.

This exhibition is very timely as it represents two very important themes that many LGBTQIA+ people encounter: visibility and invisibility. The erasure of our identities by institutions and systems of oppression has always been a struggle. May the vibrant colors, abstract images, and creative expression lift you up, prompt questions and interpretations that are as varied as our own identities.

Even though we’re in a pandemic and you may feel isolated or invisible, know that there are LGBTQIA+ people cheering for you, thinking of you, and creating with you a space where you are acknowledged and celebrated. This virtual space is for you. We affirm your existence. Invisible no more.

Moisés Villada
Highly (In)Visible Curator
GSC Associate Director

Artist Statement Heading link

  • Queer Erasure, Otherization and Visibility

    “Highly (In)Visible is a collection of paintings by artist Antonio Domingo Santos dealing with the issues of Queer erasure, otherization and visibility. As a Queer Latinx growing up on the Southwest Side of Chicago Antonio experienced the feeling of being invisible because of the lack of awareness and representation of Queer folks in his Mexican community and culture. At the same time he has experienced being highly visible because his Queerness marked him as an outsider or “other” in many aspects of society.”

  • Highly (In)Visible

    “LGBTQIA+ people are often both erased from society and highlighted as other, making them Highly (In)Visible. The paintings in this exhibition use vibrant and eye-catching colors on abstracted figures representing the Highly (In)Visible nature of queerness.”

Antonio Domingo Santos ( He/Him/His) is a first-generation Queer Latinx from the southwest side of Chicago’s Gage Park neighborhood where he founded a nonprofit organization called Gage Park Latinx Council (GPLXC). GPLXC connects the arts and intersectional cultural identities while tackling social issues through creating spaces for youth, LGBTQIA+ folx, immigrants, and first-generation students. His art reflects his experiences being a Queer Latinx in a neighborhood that has been historically marginalized. Reflecting upon how being Queer and Latinx makes one both invisible and highly visible at the same time.  This happens through the erasure and otherization that LGBTQIA+ folx have historically faced, particularly in communities of color. These concepts show up in Antonio’s paintings through the use of vibrant colors and the abstraction of the form making the subject of each painting Highly (In)Visible.

Pictured Left: Antonio D. Santos

Highly (In)Visible Video Heading link

Highly (In)Visible Collection 1 Heading link

3 paintings that are abstract, blurred watercolor strokes & spots of oranges, yellow, black, and navy.

Artwork by © Antonio D. Santos

Highly (In)Visible Collection 2 Heading link

3 paintings that are abstract, blurred watercolor strokes & spots of black, blue, red, yellow, and neon green. Bright blue background.

Artwork by © Antonio D. Santos

Highly (In)Visible Collection 3 Heading link

3 paintings that are abstract, blurred watercolor strokes & spots of black, hot pink, blue, red, yellow, and neon green. one painting in the middle has two figures in blue and red bikinis. Hot pink background.

Artwork by © Antonio D. Santos

"DO YOU SEE ME?" A Collaborative Mural Project Heading link

Picture of a collaborative mural with plants and brown and yellow round figures with eyes. Day and night building scene. A black and white rainbow flag with a magnifying glass that has a rainbow flag.

Thank you to artOUT, a student committee affiliated with UIC’s Gallery 400, for partnering with the Gender and Sexuality Center to host a virtual live collaborative mural project event on November 20, 2020. Check out the final mural above and the time-lapse video of the creation below.

"How Are You ___ ?" Heading link

As part of this online exhibition, we developed two online forms asking the community "How Are You Visible?" and "How Are You Invisible?" and these are their answers.
  • How Are You Visible?

    “I don’t know.”

    “I love myself everyday, all day.”

    “When I show up in my pumps!”

  • How Are You Invisible?

    “When I’m misgendered or when someone doesn’t use my chosen pronouns.”

    “When I’m not represented in the media.”

    “Every time Bisexuality is erased.”

    “When legal rights are taken away from LGBTQIA+ folx.”